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Soda ash

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Pricing News

  • Strong dollar weighs on Indian soda ash list prices

    Friday, 25 May 2018

    The rupee's performance against the dollar dipped 6.4%, pushing list prices higher, although this has not yet influenced spot market prices for soda ash.

  • Strong demand, tight supply push soda ash prices up

    Friday, 18 May 2018

    Strong demand in China is being met with reduced output, which has placed further upward pressure on soda ash prices.

  • Price Briefing May 4 - 10

    Friday, 11 May 2018

    Global iodine spot market strengthens on bullish sentiment; Sluggish demand drags down global antimony trioxide market; Foundry-grade chromite prices edge up on ongoing tightness; Sparse buying activity leaves Chinese magnesia export prices steady; Chinese lithium carbonate import prices climb but export prices soften, China’s flake graphite prices steady, demand remains quiet; Chinese domestic battery-grade lithium compound spot prices stabilize, other regions soften.

  • Strong demand, export uncertainty push Chinese soda ash price above $300 per tonne

    Friday, 11 May 2018

    Chinese prices for soda ash have risen for the second time in seven weeks, although the volumes available for export are a cause for some concern.

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Features

  • Eti Soda’s supply myth: how the market never moved to oversupply

    Thursday, 17 May 2018

    Fears that Eti Soda could create an oversupply in the soda ash market and send prices tumbling have not been realized, but questions remain about how the market so readily absorbed the additional tonnages that are being produced, and what will happen next.

  • Growing panes: will smart glass stimulate mineral demand?

    Thursday, 17 May 2018

    As modern architecture increasingly looks to smart glass for its unique, functional and environmentally friendly properties, Industrial Minerals correspondent Cameron Perks takes a look at how this may stimulate demand for glass minerals, as well as certain metal oxides.

  • UNDERSUPPLIED: Soda ash demand outstripping output

    Thursday, 17 May 2018

    It’s a finite balance between supply just meeting demand and moving to an undersupplied market. Demand in the primary end-use market for soda ash - glass - is strong and there is no new soda ash capacity scheduled to come online to meet growing demand, which means the market could be faced with higher prices for the raw material, Michael Greenfield, Industrial Minerals reporter, has found.

  • 2017: The year of the supply squeeze

    Thursday, 14 December 2017

    If 2016 should be remembered with a shudder, then 2017 will be remembered as the year when it became harder to source minerals. The supply situation changed for many minerals in the markets that Industrial Minerals covers, not least because many producers were simply shut down by strict environmental laws in China, or found it harder to source materials due to demand-side challenges, consultant editor Siobhan Lismore-Scott writes.

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Market Brief

Soda ash, or sodium carbonate, can be produced either by mining natural sources or manufactured synthetically using salt and limestone.

About half of the soda ash produced in the world is used in the glass industry for the production of flat glass, container glass, fibreglass and other products.

High exposure to glass markets means that soda ash demand is significantly influenced by the fortunes of the construction and automotive industries.

Supply

China is the world’s largest producer of soda ash with an output of about 23m tonnes in 2011. Production in China has expanded rapidly since 2000 driven by surging domestic demand.

While most of China’s output is consumed in domestic markets, producers there have become increasingly established in export markets.

The world’s second largest producer, the US, is also the largest global exporter, but was been hit hard by the global economic downturn in 2008-2012.

The US soda ash industry is centred at the Green River Basin in north-western US state of Wyoming, where it is mined from natural soda ash, or trona. Producers operating in Green River include FMC, Solvay, OCI and Tata Chemicals.

Leading producers 

ANSAC – US producers including FMC, Tata Chemicals and OCI
Ciech – Poland
Eti Soda – Turkey
Nirma – India
Shandong Marine – China
Sisecam/Sida Sanayii – Turkey
Soda Sterlitamak – Russia
Solvay – Belgium/US
Tangshan Sanyou – China
Tata Chemicals – India

Markets

The 10 leading countries, representing 68% of total U.S. soda ash exports were, in decreasing order and percentage of total, Mexico, 16%; Brazil, 12%; Indonesia, 10%; Canada, 5%; Chile, 5%; Japan, 4%; the Republic of South Korea, 4%; South Africa, 4%; Taiwan, 4%; and the Netherlands, 4%.

The most common application for soda ash is in the glass industry, including flat glass and container glass, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s demand. Soda ash reduces the furnace temperature needed to melt the silica sand used in glass manufacturing, reducing energy costs for the producer.

In 2011, world soda ash production was estimated to be 51.3 Mt, which was a 7% increase from that of 2010. Of the 29 countries that produce natural and synthetic soda ash, the United States was the world’s second-ranked producer, accounting for 21% of total world output. 

Only Botswana, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Turkey, and the United States produce soda ash from natural sources; the remaining 23 nations manufacture soda ash through various chemical processes, primarily the Solvay process. Total world natural soda ash production represented about 26% of combined world soda ash production.

Flat glass uses – which account for about 39% of soda ash demand – include the production of windows, glass doors and windscreens.

About 51% of soda ash is utilised in container glass, which is used bottles, jars and drinkware.

Soda ash is also used as a raw material in a variety of chemical markets including soaps and detergents, sodium triphosphate (used in food preservatives, cleaning products and ceramics), sodium silicates and zeolites, used as adsorbents.

Demand growth for soda ash is expected to be strongest in China, South East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and South America.